Located in the heart of the Lazio region of Italy, Latina is a relatively modern city and was founded during the fascist regime of Italy in 1932. Before the city was established, this area of Lazio was largely uninhabited and was predominantly swam land until it was drained. Inhabitants of the city were originally brought from other regions of Italy including Veneto and Friuli, and various monuments, parks and public buildings were erected. After WW2, the city was renamed to Latina and saw an influx of residents coming from Lazio and the surrounding region.
Latina has a well-developed economy and has production facilities for several industries including pharmaceutical, chemical and cheese. Latina benefits from a close proximity to Rome, and it is also not too far from Naples. Furthermore it has great links to several fantastic coastal towns such as Anzio, Nettuno and Terracina. As a tourist destination, Latina can serve as a relatively cheap base for exploring Rome and the region of Lazio, and the various islands lying in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Moreover, the city itself also has some interesting structures and museums and a wide range of shopping opportunities and eateries.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Latina:
1. Museo Storico Piana delle Orme
Possibly one of the largest collections in the whole of Italy, the Piana delle Orme Museum boasts of 50,000 items covering a vast range of different subjects and genres.
You can find this fantastic museum approximately 20 minutes to the east of Latina near the small town of Borgo San Michele.
Within the various pavilions you can find two main themes – the agricultural life of the population of Italy, and the history of WW2 in the country.
Objects found in the exhibits include toys, farm tools, agricultural machinery and household objects.
Additionally, there is an immense collection of military memorabilia including tanks, missiles, weaponry and even several actual aeroplanes.
For anyone interested in history, this museum will prove to be the highlight of your trip.
2. Lago di Fogliano
This large coastal lake covers approximately 395 hectares and has a maximum depth of around 2-3 metres.
The Lago di Fogliano presents a fantastic array of attractions including a bird-spotting area, a well-maintained Botanical Garden and the Villa Fogliano which was constructed in the 19th century.
Various footpaths pass around the circumference of the lake and you can traverse its entire length – whilst walking you will be amazed at the serene landscape, the calmness of the water, and the variety of birds that you can spot.
The Lago di Fogliano is a great place to spend a sunny day, and provides a fantastic natural retreat from the busy cities.
3. Giardino di Ninfa
If you travel 25 minutes to the north of Latina you can find the gorgeous Ninfa Gardens.
Covering 105 hectares, these gardens are constructed around the remains of the ruins of the church of Saint John, and the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore.
You can see the ruins still standing, and look at how the gardens have sprung up around them.
The gardens themselves were created in 1921 and have a plethora of different features included the Ninfa River, a charming arched stone bridge and a collection of beautiful plants, trees and flowers.
Every corner of this garden has something new to discover and it is a true pleasure to explore the grounds and see what you can find.
4. Palmarola Island
The Pontine Islands are an archipelago of several rocky islands that are located off the coast of Italy in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Palmarola is the second largest of the islands and is a great place to visit during the summer months.
To get to this secluded island you can take a boat from the nearby Ponza island which is the most inhabited of the archipelago.
Palmarola has only a handful of establishments (one of which is a restaurant), but it is nonetheless an amazing place to experience.
Many boats will simply dock on the western beach and from here you can explore the island or snorkel in the turquoise waters.
Furthermore, the coastline of Palmarola has a plethora of caves and grottos that can be explored by boat.
5. Ponza Island
Ponza is the largest of the Pontine Islands and is accessible via regular ferries leaving from Naples, Terracina and Anzio.
This wonderful rock is the most populous of the islands and is a great place to explore to escape from the busy city life.
The main establishment of Ponza is the town of the same name that is located in the southern region of the island – here you can find a beautiful harbour and a series of restaurants and bed and breakfast hotels.
On the opposite side of the island, just a 10 minute walk from Ponza town is the wonderful hidden beach of Chiaia di Luna that is surrounded on one side by large cliffs.
Alternatively, if sunbathing is not your thing, you can take the local bus or hire a bike to explore the other regions of this fantastic island.
6. Monte Semprevisa
Standing at a staggering 1536m high, Monte Semprevisa is the tallest peak in the Monti Lepini mountain range of Lazio and provides an expansive natural landscape perfect for hiking and adventure.
A plethora of climbing routes exist if you wish to top the mountain, each of which vary in difficulty.
The shortest route takes approximately 2.5 hours from the starting point in the small village of Bassiano on the southern slopes of the mountain.
If you do not want to climb to the top, there are many other routes to explore that traverse the sides of Monte Semprevisa and provide you with some absolutely stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
7. Santo Stefano Island
Just like the other Pontine Islands, Santo Stefano was created from volcanic activity and is only 400m in diameter.
As the most easterly of the islands, Santo Stefan lies 1.2 miles from the larger Ventotene and is accessible via boat tours and ferry’s from the other islands.
The main attraction of this rocky island is the famous Santo Stefano Jail.
Created in 1797, this circular jail had 99 cells and a central watchtower and was used up until 1965. The architecture of the jail is quite impressive and it features a series of ornate arches and octagonal guard towers.
Furthermore, it stands in a remarkable condition and is one of the most visited sites of the Pontine Islands.
8. Visit the coastal town of Nettuno
Located 40 minutes by car to the west of Latina, Nettuno is a small coastal town that is an interesting and beautiful place to visit on a fine summer’s day.
In the centre of Nettuno is a large harbour that is packed full of charming fishing and sailing boats, plus some larger chartered yachts.
Furthermore, behind the harbour is the old castle walls and defence in the form of the Borgo Medievale – you can walk through this part of the town and admire the old architecture and narrow cobbled streets.
Finally, Nettuno has a two long stretches of beach that are perfect for sunbathing on, playing games or taking a dip in the sea.
9. Ventotene Island
With only 700-750 residents, the community of the island of Ventotene is extremely tight-knit and the locals exhibit a strong identity and culture.
As the remains of an ancient volcano, Ventotene is a rocky island with dramatic coastlines and protected bays.
To reach this island, you can take a ferry or hydrofoil from either Formia or Anzio.
Main sights of the island include some ancient Roman structures that stand as a testament to Ventotene’s ancient past, the beautiful Piazza Castello, and the pristine Cala Nave Beach.
10. Acquaparco Scivosplash
For a fun-packed family outing, the Acquaparco Scivosplash is an ideal location just outside the main city confines of Latina.
This fantastic water park has something for everyone – it has a range of thrilling water slides and rapids, several well-maintained pools perfect for swimming and balls games, and ample space for sunbathing and relaxation in its grounds.
The main feature of the water park is a large 3 lane water slide that sends you careering into the waters below, and two helter-skelter style slides that features several helix twists.
Kids and adults alike will find this place enthralling and it provides a perfect break from sight-seeing in the city.
11. Parco Arnaldo Mussolini
This public park was created during the establishment of Latina and was originally dedicated to the younger brother of Mussolini who died prematurely in 1931. In the centre of the park is a large monument dedicated to the fallen Italian soldiers featuring a marble obelisk and a fountain; furthermore there are busts of the famous Italian leaders Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini.
Aside from the monuments, the park features a series of wooded glades and manicured lawns that are perfect to relax in or walk through.
If you are feeling sporty, there is also several tennis courts in the eastern region of the park.
12. Try some Italian food at the Il Quadrato Restaurant
Latina has a host of eateries where you can enjoy a fine evening meal and one of the most well-known is the IL Quadrato Restaurant located on Via Pastengo just a short walk from the Piazza del Popolo.
With both outdoor and indoor seating, you can eat in the comfort of the Italian sun, or dine in the cosy interior.
This restaurant is known throughout Latina for its excellent quality and variety of authentic Italian dishes.
Why not try a traditional beef lasagne? Or maybe you will choose a creamy carbonara? Whatever you pick, the presentation is fantastic, the prices reasonable, and the service second to none.
13. Lido di Enea
To the west of Latina is the Lido di Enea – a popular coastal resort in the town of Lavinio.
The beach here stretches for miles from Anzio in the south, right through to Ostia in the west.
Each section of beach features some beautiful stretches of sand, and clear waters that are perfect for a swim or a boat ride.
Furthermore, along the beach and the adjacent promenades you will find a selection of bars and restaurants that are perfect for a bite to eat or a drink if you are too hot.
It is also possible to try your hand at paragliding here or learn how to Kayak or even kite-surf.
14. Take a day trip to Rome
Rome is one of the most-visited cities in the world and it has a seemingly endless array of iconic landmarks and historical attractions.
Latina lies approximately 1 hour to the east of Rome by car, but rail journey is also possible – there is a station in Latina Scalo that has regular trains to the centre of Rome.
If you are based in Latina, it is advisable to set aside at least one day to visit the eternal city – in Rome you can see magnificent structures such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, St.
Peter’s Basilica, and the Trevi Fountain.
Furthermore, you can explore the Vatican museums, the Roman Forum, or simply sit and watch the world go by in one of the ornate Piazzas.
15. Piazza del Popolo
The Piazza del Popolo is the central square in the centre of Latina (literally the town has been specifically built around this square). This beautiful square has some fantastic design features and is a great place to start a walking tour of Latina.
At the western side of the square is a large fountain that is surrounded by a series of landscaped gardens and flower beds.
Moreover, to the eastern side of the plaza is a circular marble stage with a series of intricate patterns.
Furthermore, the town hall of Latina is located here, and there is also a series of bars and restaurants for your enjoyment.